New Mangawhai classic car club keen to show its muscle

Passionate muscle car man Bryan May in his Mangawhai workshop, which comes complete with professional four-post car lift and walls full of auto souvenirs.

Fans of muscle and classic motors have a new opportunity to meet up and share their passion for petrol, thanks to Mangawhai car enthusiast Bryan May.

He launched the Mangawhai Muscle and Classic Car Club via local Facebook pages last month and nearly 80 members joined in the first two weeks.

“There are bowls clubs and golf clubs and fishing clubs, but there hasn’t really been a local car club that’s been successful,” he says. “I’ve retired from business, so thought I’d do something about it. The response has been amazing.”

It’s American cars that are Bryan’s first love, though the club is potentially open to all.

“I expect the club will be Australian and American cars predominantly, with some European,” he says. “I have no bias, so long as they look awesome. My hope is to meet lots of like-minded people to share our passion.”

Bryan got into American cars in the 1970s and has since owned, driven and rebuilt various Mustangs, Dodges, Chevrolets and three Corvettes, including a white 1971 Corvette roadster that he brought over from the US and fully restored. He’s also an international judge for the US-based National Corvette Restorers Society and a member of the New Zealand and Auckland Corvette clubs.

Bryan currently divides his driving attention between a 2008 Z06 C6 Corvette and a rare 45th anniversary edition Chevy Camaro from 2012. He says he’s looking forward to meeting up with more local muscle and classic car enthusiasts from an area full of automotive experts and fans.

“The aim is to come together on a regular basis and do some interesting things, such as car shows, road runs, trips to little known collections and barn raids,” he says. “That’s when you go to different places and see what people have got tucked away in their sheds, be it workshops, cars or collections, then have lunch together afterwards. There’s an amazing number of cars tucked away in sheds in the hills around here, and an amazing amount of talent.”

The club is planning to take part in established local events and shows, including the popular Black Swamp Run, Waipu Car & Bike Show and Orewa Hot Rod Festival in January, as well as holding its own monthly club meets at the Pioneer Village, off Molesworth Drive.

This is not the first time that someone has tried to establish a local car club. Last year, a similar group folded after initial enthusiasm dwindled to the point where only one car turned up for a run in

November. However, Bryan is hoping that his efforts will build a more solid membership and regular response.

“You’ve got to have a certain amount of commitment and if you’re doing a job as well, you don’t always have the time. Running a club takes a fair bit of time and effort, but I’m retired and can do that,” he says. “We’re looking for a lot of input from people, suggestions of where to go, what we should be doing, what they’d like to see in a club. Membership participation is really important.

“We’ve made the right start, and had a lot of contact on the Facebook page.”

Info: Mangawhai Muscle and Classic Car Club on Facebook or or contact Bryan May on 021 977 770.

Mangawhai mates and now classic car club members, from left, Allan Foster with his 2014 SS-V Holden ute; Bob McClennan and his 1974 Ford Fairlane; Bryan May in front of his 2012 45th Anniversary Chevrolet Camaro; and Ron Lucca with his limited edition 2019 Mustang Bullitt.

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